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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
One of the most intimidating aspects of a DWI charge in Amarillo is the arrest record. Arrest records are public information as soon as the case is in the computer system. The records are available on the internet, and anyone can search for pending cases. The public can find out the person’s information, what court the case will be heard in, and what the charges are.
Even worse than an arrest record, however, is a conviction record. In addition to potential jail time and heavy fines, DWIs create a criminal record than can follow an individual for life. For help resolving your charges, contact an experienced defense attorney today.
The Consequences of an Arrest Record
Having a public arrest record can make things difficult for individuals who are job hunting. When a potential employer conducts background searches as part of the hiring process, they can find out if the individual has a pending DWI charge.
While the government usually does not publish mug shots itself, they are public information. This means a third-party that obtained the information could potentially publish them on a commercial website. This can be highly embarrassing and damage someone’s personal and professional reputation.
Expunging or Sealing an Arrest Record.
There are two main options for handling a DWI arrest in Amarillo. First, if the individual is found not guilty of the offense, they would be eligible for expungement. This would completely remove the offense from their criminal record. There is a detailed procedure that must be followed for an expungement, so many people choose to have an experienced attorney file the proper petition.
Even if they were found guilty, however, someone may be able to seal a record by filing a petition for non-disclosure. This would remove the records from public view. To start the process, they have to file a petition, pay a filing fee, and then appear at a hearing. Sometimes, the DAs will agree to seal the individual’s record, and sometimes they will challenge it. Ultimately, the presiding judge will either sign an order sealing the record or not.
While both of these options remove a record from the public, there are some notable differences. An expungement essentially erases the entire incident from the individual’s criminal history. In contrast, sealing a criminal record means it is removed from public view. However, law enforcement, prosecutors, federal agencies, and agencies that require bonding for employment purposes can all access those records.
Discuss Your Arrest with an Amarillo DWI Attorney
If you were arrested for driving while intoxicated, you may be concerned about the impact of the arrest record on your life. While a not guilty verdict would qualify you for expungement, trying to successfully defend your DWI case alone can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, an experienced attorney is available to help with your defense. They could examine all of the evidence against you and exploit any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. To schedule a consultation and begin building a defense, reach out to a lawyer today.